The Foundation of Love: Releasing Judgments and Expectations

“Love is saying, ‘I feel differently’ instead of ‘you’re wrong.'” ~Unknown

We seek it, want it, need it, yet it eludes so many of us: genuine, heart-felt, unconditional love. Not infatuation, lust, or what you think makes you happy, but true intimacy at the level of your soul.

How do we create deep authentic connections with those who matter most? Love seems to come in precious moments that we can’t seem to grasp before time and our busy lives takes their toll. Must we try so hard to make love work? Doesn’t love just flow?

We hear about unconditional love, that we must love ourselves first before we can love another. It requires something so simple, yet difficult in practice: letting go of making ourselves, and others, wrong.

When you make someone else wrong, you hold the energy of needing to correct, convince, control, or change someone else (the 4 C’s, as I call them). Someone should be or do the way you expect. Blaming, complaining, or condemning becomes acceptable.

When you make yourself wrong, you hold thoughts of how you should be, and end up feeling not good enough. We now see ourselves and others as objects or problems that need to be fixed.

I grew up in the most loving, caring, stable family environment, with three brothers and two sisters. Being the eldest girl, I followed the rules and learned what was right and wrong.

My parents, both physicians, worked hard and instilled strong values of kindness, respect, and education. It was critical we each have an independent profession. It made sense, and we became three physicians, two MBAs, and me, a Chartered Accountant.

We all lead happy personal and professional lives. All married with fifteen children among us, we get along with virtually zero drama or conflict, and have the most amazing family get-togethers. We look forward to the holidays, and numerous birthday celebrations. Surprisingly, it turned out we are the exception.

I attribute the harmony we experience to my mother who gives of herself like no other with an uncanny ability to not complain about anything. She is one smart, highly productive woman.

Logical with astounding common sense, she instilled high self-esteem—the secret ingredient to happiness. What about love? It didn’t need to be expressed to certainly know I was loved. Yet something was missing.

There was criticism and judgment growing up I couldn’t see—right and wrong and good and bad. It was not just in my family, it was everywhere.

Expectations of how we were to behave, what we were supposed to know, who were expected to be, and the kind of person we needed to marry were clear.

When I switched careers to dedicate my life to helping others, I suddenly found myself on a spiritual path. Suddenly I was learning things that did not fit with my “family norms.” I quickly learned what I could no longer share.

Harmony exists because everyone knows what to say and what not say. The moment I stepped out of my “family box,” something shifted. My happiness grew, and I unexpectedly discovered what unconditional love meant. I learned that happiness is a changing state of being, and love can be experienced on many different levels.

But what about things people say and do that have destructive consequences?

Many believe love is putting up with, sacrificing, tolerating, or suffering in silence, thinking their commitment is proof of their love. This is not love.

Understanding, seeing, hearing, and accepting someone for who they are is love.

When you make someone wrong, there’s a value you hold being stepped on. It’s black and white in your mind, but in between lives everyone else’s perception of truth.

Someone not living up to your value of “hard work” you may judge as “lazy.” Someone who does not follow your idea of “giving” you may judge as “selfish.” Someone you judge as “inconsiderate” is not acting in a way you see as “kindness.”

Notice how it feels when others project their values onto you. The question is not whether someone is right or wrong, but whether the words and actions are coming from the spectrum of fear on one side or love on the other. The result will be either constructive or destructive.

Extreme fear breeds hatred leading to very destructive consequences that Hitler created in the world he lived in. Extreme love leads to compassion, and what Mother Teresa created in the world she lived in.

When you let go of needing others to live according to your “right” way, you realize how others respond is simply a projection of their reality. 

A shift can now happen away from your fear-based ego toward love and compassion, where you can seek to understand, share, teach, and model. Trying to be patient is next to impossible in the place of fear, but shift to love and you will find all the patience you need.

We are all seeking truth, but truth is in the eye of the beholder. Discernment not judgment leads you to truth by getting curious and noticing whether someone’s perception of reality comes from love or fear. It’s the difference between competition and cooperation, doubt and trust. It will lead to holding on or letting go.

You stand in a place of superiority when you judge and see others as inferior. It’s a destructive energy of being attached to “I am right” that you project onto someone else. Notice that what comes back will be defensiveness because no one believes they are “wrong.” Criticism is also being attached to “I am right,” but you don’t necessarily see someone as inferior.

The Golden Rule found in all spiritual teachings: Are you treating someone the way you want to be treated? Who wants to be treated to criticism and judgment?

When you let go of convincing, correcting, controlling, and trying to change others, you release a big illusion in love, ownership.

Your ego can convince you that belonging to someone is wonderful, but it’s the opposite. Having the independence to share your true self and allow others the same brings true intimacy.

No one makes you happy; happiness is found within. Until you live in compassion with yourself, the love you give will be conditional.

We are each a unique expression raised from birth to the present day living our truth based on our own values, beliefs, experience, and understanding. In every given moment we can only be and do our best. Your best will not be the same as someone else’s best.

We cling to love wanting it to last forever, but it cannot for we are the ones carrying that love, and we are constantly evolving.

The love we share is either growing together or growing apart. The paradox is love can grow apart, but it can also grow stronger.

I married someone who fit the idea of what I thought was “right,” and my awareness at that time of what I thought would bring me happiness. It has.

I thought this was love, but it was conditional, and that’s why it felt like something was missing. Now I know differently, and there is a lot more authenticity. We are closer than we’ve ever been.

The secret to experiencing deeper love is allowing each other to grow.

Today, I experience the most profound sense of love I have ever known, especially with my three children where I needed to let go of criticizing and judging them.

I’ve learned that love is wanting others to be happy without it needing it to be about you. This is how I know I love my husband, children, family, and friends, even my clients. They are not dependent on me for their happiness, and I am not dependent on them.

It’s when I can show up without criticism and judgment and I allow them to be exactly who they are that love is exchanged.

Unconditional love doesn’t always come from the family we were born into because criticism, judgment, and the resulting expectations are a big part of family culture.

Family love is strong, lasting, and nothing compares, but experiencing unconditional love will often require you to break free from the family circle to follow your heart, and your own truth.

True love is eternal even if a relationship grows apart. When you surrender judgment, you will see the divine in everyone, including you. This is love.

Photo by h.koppdelaney

About Carolyn Hidalgo

Carolyn Hidalgo, CPCC, ACC is a Self-Relationship Coach, and Author of the upcoming book Live the Love You Deserve: Imagine a Judgment-Free World. She would LOVE your comments to help make the biggest positive impact for readers. Visit for a FREE copy of her Relationship Report to minimize conflicts, achieve forgiveness, and deepen love.

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  • Chris M.

    Wonderful article–this is so true.  If anyone spent the holidays with family and feel this projected judgement–the 4 Cs, this article addresses all those fears and expectations.  We need a world where this is put into practice.  My hope for the new year!  Thanks.

  • Vanitastar

    Self love is the highest form of Love.  “No one makes you happy; happiness is found within. Until you live in
    compassion with yourself, the love you give will be conditional.”
    I enjoyed reading this article, thank you.  Namaste 🙂

  • AK

    I feel like there is an unanswered question here: 
    “But what about things people say and do that have destructive consequences?Many believe love is putting up with, sacrificing, tolerating, or suffering in silence thinking their commitment is proof of their love. This is not love. Understanding, seeing, hearing, and accepting someone for who they are is love.”What if you do understand, see, hear, accept, someone who says and does things that have destructive consequences for you?  If tolerating and suffering in silence are not love, how can this be addressed without compromising understanding and acceptance?

  • Sarah

    You have know how idean how much I needed this. I relocated about 3 and half years ago away from family and friends. I have become close to one person since moving and that person just moved away. I am feeling very lonely and lack of connection with others. As I reflect, I realize how many opputrunities I have had to gain a connection and friendship with others but have shot them down due to me labeling them and setting expectations that soon would be lost. This statement in the article could not be more true for me, ” letting go of making ourselves, and others, wrong.” I am soooooooo hard on myself and I often fail myself.

    I laid in bed last having this discussion with my husband. My husband is soo good at making and retaining friendships. The diference between him and I is he is so forgiving. He also is okay if his friends don’t react and treat things that same way as him.

    Thank you so much for this article. I could go on forever!

  • impressive work . the writer has pointout many basic facts . we must not expect much in love and relationship .believe in the policy of love.

  • Carolyn Hidalgo

    When we tolerate and suffer in silence there is a value we hold being stepped on. What is this for you? Get very clear on what you are willing to stand up for, and decide whether you need to communicate this without making them wrong. Something is destructive, unhealthy or draining for your well being if you feel the energy of tolerating/suffering otherwise it would feel like choosing to give no matter how the other person behaves. When someone feels draining to you, question ‘why am I choosing to be in this relationship? How does it serve me and this person if I feel this way?’ Accepting someone for who they are as a person does not necessarily include their words/actions when they are destructive. You can say “I understand how you may feel that way…this is how I am feeling when you say or do…” Because of this difference, I’m going to choose….(some things are better left unsaid – discern whether this person can receive your truth and not project their own fears onto you). When you connect to values that honour the love within yourself, you will no longer tolerate/suffer in silence, you will speak up or distance yourself (let go) of those who take that love away.

  • Sarah – you are welcome!! So happy this resonated with you, and made a difference : )

  • Sadly, I was in a recent situation where I had to speak up for myself
    and communicate that something in the communication between a friend and
    I wasn’t feeling right to me.

    Since this old friend started
    therapy, the communication between this person and I changed. She
    started telling me what I could say or not, what was acceptable or not,
    to alter my jokes as not to offend her, even down to how I should word
    my email subjects. She even brought up ultimatums to find out
    information she claimed she needed in order to continue things between
    us or smooth things between us. Ultimatums that would close things off
    even more.

    I spoke up. She either ignored it, took it as mean or
    took it as not letting her be who she is or rejecting her in some way.
    I’m all about open-ness between best friends. How could I be a good,
    open friend to her when she started putting so many restrictions on our
    communication, even when I was respecting her boundaries and not pushing
    her buttons? Yes, some things she wished me to stop speaking of were
    actually happy, lighthearted topics… that she discussed with me and
    asked me about, then shot me down for!

    I had to say goodbye to
    her. She wanted to mend things between us just like I did, but wouldn’t
    listen, ignored me, or told her therapist about it rather than me. I was
    shut out so much, even with happier topics. She just considered me mean
    for standing up for myself and speaking my feelings about having to be
    closed off, since she took issue with a lot of what I expressed. She
    considered it rejecting her. And when she made a final, unrealistic
    ultimatum on me – “Give me everything that offends you, so that I won’t
    ever offend you or I won’t speak to you” – I refused to supply it (we
    grow, we learn and encounter new things; the offending list is always
    growing and it is impossible to know everyone’s hot buttons, plus you
    can’t walk through life walking on eggshells around people all the time –
    it makes you less authentic to them and vice versa).. she said goodbye

    The worst part of it, is another friend had put me through
    this before in the past. An experience that this current, former friend
    knew of and even witnessed some of it herself. She thought it was
    unfair and wrong for only half of a friendship to be open, while the
    other had to be closed (to never offend them, hurt them etc) and knew
    how much it hurt me. Yet when she did the same, she saw no wrong and
    because she was being nice, she wasn’t behaving in the same way.

    like to mend things with her truly someday, but she thinks I need to
    heal completely from this behavior that hurt me. I told her I moved on
    from the person, but I wouldn’t accept the same behavior from someone
    else. She thinks I need more therapy to somehow heal from that last bit,
    from not wanting to accept it from someone else again. The whole
    situation and her suggestions had me so flabbergasted. How can one heal
    like she claims she wants me to? Am I supposed to take that behavior
    next time and just accept it? It goes against me wanting to be open with friends though. I wonder what she means when she says she wants me to “completely” heal. 😕

  • Carolyn,
    This was excellent. I can relate to the destructiveness of criticism and judgement in relationships. When we see each other as doing the best we can and release our need to control and be right we find ourselves happier in our lives and relationships.
    Thank you.

  • Thank you … namaste.  <3

  • Kel

    But what if a person cannot receive truth AND distance is not an option? Personally, I struggle with the relationships I would easily distance myself from, if this person was not in a relationship with someone I love. ex. spouses of family members or good friends. Both speaking up and distance cause more drama.

  • Dushan Stojchev

    Little Lady, does “being open” for you also mean “criticize and insult”? I’ve been TOO open at times, disregarding the fact that my words can be taken very very harshly and very personally, although I’ve merely stated a preference of mine (i.e. “I like this better than that.”). In those cases, people can get offended because they associate themselves with your dislikes instead of your likes (heck, it happens). So I don’t know… If you feel or know you’ve been fair then you’re right. And here’s a little test to check it: remember some of the things that you said, that they found hurtful, and switch places: How would you feel if someone made the same remarks on your behalf?

    Some remarks (especially those that focus on personality traits or the looks of another person) CAN be hurtful – I’ve found myself hurt by similar “discrimination.” There’s nothing wrong with preferences, but if we semi-consciously communicate them out of fear or threat, then they will surely offend.

    So, check your motives: do you really want to be these persons’ friend or you’re really just resentful towards them from underneath (and why)? Depends what openness has been to you… But there’s openness out of fear, and openness out of love (sharing what you deem WORTH sharing). Big difference there…

    Take care Little Lady. 🙂

  • Being open for me would be for me to be open about my feelings, my experiences, my thoughts and what not. This person wanted the same. No, it doesn’t mean ‘criticizing and insulting.’ One can be honest and truthful if need be, without being insulting or unnecessarily harsh. As for how people react, other people’s reactions and emotions are not my responsibility. It’s theirs. We could be the sweetest person speaking about something and it might still offend someone. We don’t know everyone’s hot buttons or landmines and people are constantly growing, experiencing life… those buttons and landmines can change. We can watch what we say, but at the same time we cannot always know how someone will react. They will react however they choose to on any given day. Walking on eggshells around someone to not ever offend or hurt them, negates open-ness, IMO.

    Putting myself in the other’s shoes, well, I can understand why they reacted in some ways – I pressed a hot button and I backed off when they told me I did. However, other things I cannot understand because they weren’t tied to any hot buttons. At all. They asked me to share something, I did and then they told me to stop speaking about it or didn’t want to hear it. Even came into a place where we were supposed to be able to speak freely, on anything, and told me to stop making jokes and being lighthearted. When it came down to the end, they took issue with me sharing even the good it seemed, even when they asked.

    I did a lot of opening out of fear in the end, I’ll admit that, because we were losing each other… you’re grasping onto straws then and trying out of a more of a desperate love. But it was over being told to not share so much of myself anymore, which came out of love and wanting to share stuff with my friend. Because I did care about this person. I spoke up out of love when the communication restrictions bothered me. If I didn’t care about myself or the friendship, I would have laid silent and that would have been doing a disservice to myself as well as our friendship.

  • Little Lady,

    Oh – your story sounds soo familiar!! I also went through this situation, and it’s what taught me so much about what it means to judge someone. This individual is trying to ‘fix you’ – saying what you can and cannot say. Where is the freedom to be yourself here? It’s the classic “conditonal love” – I will love you if…This is what I mean by being attached ‘her right way’. They do not see it however. They can only see ‘right and wrong’. If your jokes offend her, this is her issue unless you value her opinion, choose to take a look at herself, and consider whether perhaps your jokes are offensive. If you trust yourself, you will know the difference, and know your own truth. When you are with people who give you the freedom to be who you are there is no judgment – you will hear their opinion because this is what is being expressed. It is a different energy. We do not always agree, but you can show up authentically. I had to walk away from 2 friendships also – one over a decade long, another 20 + year friendship. They taught me the most valuable lessons about who I am, and what I choose to stand up for in my life. My own values. Trust yourself – follow your heart – what you know to be true from your emotional guidance of the love within you, and you will know how to respond. Sometimes walking away is the only option, and with one of these ‘friends’ it was exactly what she needed to find her own light. After about a year, she came back, apologized from her heart in a new place where she could now see how she was creating her own suffering. Each of us must look within ourselves, stop blaming, complaining, finding fault, using the 4 C’s (controlling, convincing, correcting, and changing) in relation with others. 

    It’s up to you to decide what behaviour you are willing to accept – this is your life. Your choice. I no longer accept behaviour that is destructive towards me, and have attracted the most incredible people into my life because that draining energy I was unknowingly holding onto disappeared. Healing comes from within – your own experience, and enlightenment towards truth. When you choose the side of love, you will heal. When you listen to other’s projections of fears, and choose to believe them, you will suffer. 

    Listen to your inner voice – trust it. I can hear it. You will feel it when you listen, and then you will know exactly what to do. Question why you feel the need to mend this relationship. What does it bring you?

  • Carolyn Hidalgo

    Hi Kel,

    There are times when the destructive energy of a spouse of a family member or good friend is so strong, one option I’ve recommended to clients that has worked is “I know you value this person’s company, but I feel so uncomfortable, or feel so drained in _____’s company that I prefer if you go alone. I understand this person means a lot to you, and I’m happy for you to go, but I choose not to go. How others respond to this is not your business. Drama only exists when you choose to participate in it. Be the change when it comes to drama – avoid ‘using the word’ against others, and suddenly you will no longer experience drama. The “Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz is a great classic that has given me the insights to master this practice. Drama can simply be happening around you, and your energy will increase exponentially! It’s critical to discern when speaking up makes sense for you. I listen now to whether someone is on the fear end of the spectrum or on the love end. This makes all the difference. Not everyone is ‘ready to handle the truth’, and this is ok. Share your truth with those you can trust who do not judge, and you will get closer to your own truth. 

  • Lv2terp

    Thank you for this article…it was great and spoke to me since that has been my path of growth and improvement this yr! 🙂

  • Greg

    I am so pleased with what I have just finished reading, your Foundation of Love !  Thank you fo  its’ simplicity, thoroughness and love.
    It is wonderful to come home feeling just as you have written and to read it as verification that THIS IS DOABLE !!
    Thank you !

  • Hi Carolyn,

    My husband and I are going through the proceedure of seperation and he sent me this article today. I still love him but I don’t feel that our relationship enables me to grow and be the best I can be, and I also see that he can be a certain person (the best he can be), yet he doesn’t, and I end up in correction mode like you mention.

    Years on, resentment and lack of love and romance caused our love to grow apart. It is now clear to me that perhaps to begin with, we are two individuals who had a misguided perspective of what each of us were, what each of us wanted out of this relationship. In essence, I felt it was a misrepresentation on what our relationship truly is because we are probably not as compatible as we think we are and yet for some reason, because of time or circumstance, we rode it out as a couple. 7 years on, the differences and incompatibility is corroding into our relationship and as much as I love, I feel that it is the right thing to do to find someone who would truly be able to accept the person.

    Where is the line between compromising and accepting? Does it mean you simply ‘settle’? When people say acceptance is love- i don’t know what that really means. Does it means to compromise your own beliefs in order to accept? Is that love?

  • This is brilliant. Loving like this is a new resolution of mine.

  • AK

    Thank you.

  • Kel

    Thank You. This I can do. And thanks for the reminder about the Four Agreements. That is a book worth reading again.

  • Grace

    Very wise and instructive. I’m dealing with the pain of letting go of my adult child’s choices and problems. “I see things differently,” and “I don’t own you,” are powerful statements for me to speak and believe. 
    Thank you, Carolyn.

  • Carolyn Hidalgo

    Hi JaeMichie,

    When we get married, we can only base our decision on what we believe at that time will bring us happiness. We ‘commit forever’ yet we are always growing, and changing. Sometimes we grow apart simply because each of us are on our own spiritual paths. Growth isn’t the foundation of most people’s marriages – instead so many marriages are living with ‘conditional love’, and wonder why they feel resentment, and why their love fails to flourish. I believe our individual growth must be the foundation of a partnership – space for your own truth, and real experiences.  If we don’t have the space to grow, we die. In answer to your question: the line between compromising, and accepting lies in the energy you feel. Are you compromising your own values, in which case you will feel a disconnect within yourself, and the emotions that show up will be toward the fear end of the spectrum (eg. guilt, resentment). Compromising something for a more important cause however will feel connected to your spirit. You will be willing and wanting to compromise even though it may feel difficult – it will feel in alignment with what you believe. It will not feel like you ‘settled’. I do not believe you should ever compromise your own beliefs – these are your values – your truth. Stand by them.

    Accepting someone when it comes to love means knowing everyone is doing the best they can with what they understand, know, experience, but their actions/words/ideas you may not choose to accept. Do they have a negative/destructive impact for your own well being? Only you can answer this question from your own heart. Many people think ‘accepting’ others includes choosing to accept things they say and do that you don’t agree with. Acceptance is allowing someone to like something different, and genuinely wanting THEM to be with that (assuming it is constructive/positive/doesn’t hurt them or doesn’t cross your own values) because that’s what creates joy for them-  YOU still need to choose what works for you. Happiness does not come from someone else, it comes from within you, and only you can create that experience when you know what you want, and stand by your own values no matter what anyone else thinks.

    It takes courage to follow your heart, and I acknowledge this in you! When you listen to your own inner voice, you will continue to experience love. Those who love you unconditionally will support you because they want you to be happy. Depending on the love you have now, and how you choose to be with it, it can continue to grow despite going separate ways. This is the miracle of ‘eternal love’. 

  • CC

    Carolyn, Would you email me directly?  Id love to discuss this more with you. I found so much peace in this article.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not sure I totally get this. If someone you’re in love with is selfish/self-centered etc we should just accept that they’re never going to give us things we want in a relationship? Doesn’t this just mean you need to get rid of them to find someone else?

  • Carolyn Hidalgo

    Hi CC – you can email me directly at my website: – there’s a contact form there : )

  • Carolyn Hidalgo

    Yes. Unless selfishness, and being self-centered is a quality you value. You will know because of how it feels emotionally. Distinguish between selfish/self-centered, and self-care. Big difference. It all comes down to the values you hold, and are willing to stand up for in your life. The fear-love spectrum – which side are you choosing to live from?

  • Carolyn Hidalgo

    The value you hold is authenticity, and trust in being who you are. Without this, there isn’t much of a friendship no matter what you shared in the past, or how much you love your friend. It can feel devastating at the time to lose such a close friendship, but we grow and change, and you will attract new people who resonate with you, and allow you to be who you are. If you wanted to keep this friendship, you’d have to step on this value, and be ok trying to keep being who your friend wants you to be. 
    As you grow spiritually, this part of you becomes stronger – an inner trust. Some you cannot take along – those who expect you to be who they want you to be based on their values, and ideas of ‘right and wrong’. It is a difficult transition, but on the other side is so much light!! I could really see who a few past friends chose to be in their other friendships, and how different mine were becoming. We never stop loving, but we have choice in the relationships we want surrounding us based on their energy – ‘constructive (love) or destructive (fear) ‘ – when it’s a match, it will vibrate with yours, and this allows your own love to flow. The moment you let go of the energy that holds onto destructive energy (trying to please these friends, not able to show up as yourself), there is more space within you to hold your own loving energy, and this will now attract similar energy, the kind of friendships you truly want – you become a magnet in ways that will astound you : ) 

  • Tinarose29

    I suffer from OCD and most times I judge people on how clean their houses are, if they are not as clean as I think they should be I conclude that they are either lazy or just out right dirty. Yesterday I was talking to my sister and I told her that I want to let go of judging people this was because I find that when people know I am going to visit they panic and clean profusely just to make me happy and I don’t think that is fair, so slowing I am letting go of judging people this was and just using my OCD on myself. It make ME happy, but I don’t have to impose my clean freak menatlity on others. This article has made me realise that I am truly on the right track. THANKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • chews

    great article, thank you!

  • Bloominwild89

    WOW…..I needed to hear this and I don’t even think I knew it. Thank you 🙂


  • gansita

    Today this post made a difference for me. Thank you.

  • Carolyn Hidalgo

    I just wanted to thank everyone who’s read my first blog post here, and who ‘liked it’ and/or posted comments – this gives me some great feedback, and keeps me inspired and motivated writing my book! I have SOO much to share – I just posted my favourite resources for 2011 in my recent blog You can subscribe to my bi-weekly blog to have it arrive automatically on left side of my blog page : ) Enjoy, and happy new year!!!

  • “we do not always agree, but we can show up authentically”  I have to highlight this and agree. Everyone is different, their likes and dislikes etc. I found it startling when things started going sour, differences were something this person could NOT accept any longer. Which may be why they didn’t wish to speak of some things anymore or hear about some things anymore. They liked Lady Gaga, I did not and we spoke about that fine before, then suddenly because it was a difference in tastes, that could not be spoken of anymore because we might clash over it. I actually told them, I wanted to know their dislikes as much as their likes and they were free to speak of an artist they liked that I didn’t have the same fondness for – because if was their like and they are free to express it!

    “It’s up to you to decide what behavior you are willing to accept – this is your life.” Yes, yes and yes! That was something I was getting at, in explaining to them – feeling closed off and walking on eggshells, etc doesn’t bode well for me. I want to be authentic with people and for me, that means letting me be open and not stifling me. I am also aware of my past and what didn’t work for me. So it was best for me to speak up like I did. It wasn’t like I was trying to attack them, no – just I needed to state what I would not tolerate.

    Yes, agree with you in finding people who match. This friend and I were a match, just currently… aren’t. It is not possible to please everyone. We can only be ourselves and if someone meshes with us, cool. If not, that is OK too.

    This friendship was of the best friend, ‘sister I never had’ type of friendship. Before we broke apart due to these issues, we were open and genuine with one another. It flowed like water; naturally, easily and deeply. We shared a lot of interests, likes and other things together. We ‘got’ each other in ways, learned from one another, helped one another and so on. This was probably our only real obstacle during the course of the friendship and I guess it was what busted it. Me speaking up, time and again, was my way of trying to 1) help mend things and 2) get HER side, her feelings etc out. But again, when I tried, she denied or ignored or told her therapist or suggested something that would just close off things more and solve nothing.

  • What an amazing response.  I got a lot out of this and your piece here is so true and well-written too.  So glad to have read both!

  • EK

    Wow I read this and it definitely resonated. I am in a relationship in which I think I am the one giving conditional love. I’ve been feeling hurt by things that he did or didn’t do or said because they aren’t what I felt was enough or they seemed careless. When you said that it’s not right or wrong but truth to that person from their set of perceptions on life…it hit me that by projecting my perceptions on him, I’m making him wrong. No wonder he is defensive when I think I’m communicating feelings. I’m doing it in a way that makes me right and him wrong. All this time I’ve been trying to get him to be more understanding, but maybe we both need to be. I’m trying to wrap my head around the idea of expressing what is right to me and my set of perceptions, in a loving way, without having to make him wrong. I think if I can, we will be on a much better track. Thank you for your post. 

  • Carolyn Hidalgo

    Thanks EK. Yes – once we realize we cannot ‘try to make someone understanding’, suddenly everything shifts. We can only be understanding in the way we know how, and someone else is as understanding as they are from their own perception, and awareness. You can point out how you see him not being ‘understanding’ according to your view, and he will either agree or disagree, and then proceed to share how he sees himself to be ‘understanding’. This means different things to different people, and everyone’s ‘ability to listen, and see’ someone varies. It may help to use your emotions eg. “when you say…., it makes me feel……” Our emotions are an internal guidance system and come from our thoughts/beliefs/understanding of the world, and each other. This drives what we say and do. Be CURIOUS – almost child-like – that deeper fascination why your boyfriend behaves how he does, why he thinks what he thinks – this will lead you to ask questions about how your boyfriend understands his perception of the world, which will allow you to be more understanding : ) In turn, he will be too. 

  •  Excellent article…just what I needed at the moment. I’m going through a multitude of changes in myself and, with my new growth and self acceptance, am ‘losing’ relationships. But it does not feel like losing. I’m learning to accept that others need different things than I do and sometimes losing them in my life will mean them gaining what they need in theirs. A new way of thinking about letting a relationship go.

  • Carolyn Hidalgo

    Thanks Elizabeth! People often think holding on makes us stronger, but letting go of what doesn’t serve you opens up the space to let what you truly want in : ) Wonderful to see how you are thinking – self acceptance and that inner trust is the secret to attracting what you want. Enjoy the journey : )

  • enlightened1

    Amazing truth. Profound. This is the answer to the meaning of life. Thank you.

  • lostbutfoundlady

    This is a wonderful post. Constant criticism, always being judged and living in fear of not pleasing your spouse and family can seriously erode any relationship. I always thought that my parents, and then later my spouse meant the best for me and I complied with them to the point where I didn’t know what my own feelings and opinions were anymore. Talk about wearing a mask! I said and did everything that I thought would make life harmonious, but deep inside I wasn’t really happy. After all, how could they ever love and accept the real me when I was always giving them a version of me that I thought would please them.

    It took a long time to see this, to become self-aware and unfortunately I learned the hard way by being destructive in my marriage as a result. Wish I had read this 10 years ago, but better late than never.

  • Carolynhidalgo

    Wonderful to see your self-awareness, and allowing yourself to drop the mask, and find the real you! I feel like a different person than I was 10 years ago – this is how we grow and change when we do this work. Also know that everything I went through, and am going through has a purpose, and lesson to learn..enjoy being you : )

  • Amber Gray

    Truly profound…thank you.

  • a good friend is tested in times of need trouble

  • Arun

    I have two things to ask before that – its an excellent message to the world of today.. love is wa all we need..

    the following things are:

    1. Judgement of what kind is bad?
    2. How to help a person to overcome fear and love thyself and others?

  • Carolyn Hidalgo

    Hi Arun,

    Thanks for writing – I apologize I’m just seeing your message here now as I recently posted a new article. I describe any judgment of someone including yourself as destructive (away from love) as opposed to ‘bad’ which is subjective. It comes from the fear of your ego making yourself (guilt) or someone else (condemning, blaming) ‘wrong’. It is a very difficult concept to understand because ‘judgment’ has come to mean many other things including an assumption, conclusion, opinion or belief. These are different than judging a person – holding the energy of ‘self-righteous’ where you are attached to your ‘way’ needing to be right for others otherwise you condemn them (punishment, blame, anger, name-calling etc). Instead it is the actions, or words we say that we may not agree with as opposed to the person who is ‘living from their own state of consciousness’ doing “the best” they can. It does not mean we always agree or condone this state. It simply distinguishes between people, and words/actions that are chosen constructively or destructively for someone’s well being.

    When we project judgment on people, we suffer. We hold the anger/resentment/blame/contempt. It is different from “constructive feedback” that can be negative or positive.

    Overcoming fear requires inner work to identify what fears you hold (also known as your limiting beliefs of who or what you can’t be, do, or have). It requires having courage to trust your own voice, know your own values, and step into your own truth. When you let go of criticism and judgment of yourself, have compassion for you instead of making yourself wrong, you will learn to love yourself. Until you do, it is difficult to truly love others. You cannot give what you don’t have within.

    All the best to you on your journey.

  • Rzar

    Very eloquent. Written in a perspective I’ve never read before.

  • Kassie

    Thank you for such a wonderful insightful post

  • SuVid

    it is good that understanding others makes easy to let go the relationship but is it possible to understand a person when one cheats/betrays/. and in your last sentence you said “In turn, he will be too.” is it possible that he will understand too?? What if he remains ignorant and just breaks the communication

  • Russ

    Wow! Thank you so much for validation. I really needed to hear this. It is basically how I operate my life. With so many cultures and different ideas of life the only way you can possibly approach others in a respectful way is through the Golden Rule. few understand this.

    thank you, Russ

  • Lauren

    Your comment is personally interesting to me. Are you saying you were a doormat? If so, what, in your opinion, is the difference between being a doormat & being unconditionally kind/loving/etc in a relationship that gives back virtually zero kindness? (For context, a relationship with someone suffering clinical depression.)

    I am aware that I choose my actions & I am sure that I love this person enough to take whatever he dishes (within reason) & have felt, at times, that our difficulty has helped me understand my own feelings better & exercised my capacity for love beyond previous experience, but… once in awhile, I wonder if I am a doormat. lol

  • cj

    Just want to say that, It felt amazing reading your post.. Thanks a lot…. 🙂

  • Do you have love and compassion for rapists and murderers?

  • John Coghlan

    So your answer to happiness is individual selfishness that has no room for societal values and mores ? there is no right or wrong ?? whatever makes you happy is all that matters ? smh in disbelief

  • pirate

    Thank you so much for the amazing read. I’m conceptually understanding what unconditional love is, but HOW do you go about letting go of the expectation and judgment? HOW do you free yourself of this negativity? What did you do to get to this place? Thanks in advance.

  • The Tomb Opens

    Wonderful Article.
    I’d love to live in peace, to be less judgmental and more compassionate.

    I like your comment that drama exists when we participate. You may not initiate it but the invitation to participate can sometimes be a must-accept.

    My spouse invites my mother-in-law to visit us. Since she lives in a different country. A visit means a couple of months.

    She is a good person. But we do have entirely different value system.
    Caution, this will sound judgemental…

    She is not a grateful; she whines all the time; she had a perfect life and in her senior years her health is very good yet her words & tone only convey misery; she compares everything that she owns & does with everyone else’s no matter their age; she is messy; she breaks stuff because she moves fast and her mind is always comparing what her eyes scan; she is manipulative – that she will quickly understand who has the upper hand in a situation and will try to win them over; she enjoys pampering her boys.

    No matter how much I try. I am super stressed when she visits. Besides her effect on my spouse is awful. After she leaves, he is this grumpy ungrateful brat who feels entitled, is rude and wants people to tolerate his attitude and pick up his mess.

    It takes a few months of distancing myself from him and showing him in every way that I will not tolerate or accept his attitude – before he resorts back to being someone I can enjoy spending sometime with.

    All of her boys are the same way: rude, insensitive, entitled brats, who only see her as the symbol of giving – no-one else. Here effect on them is fascinating.

    How can I bring love to this picture?
    How can I be less judgmental?

    P.S. My spouse refuses any communication regarding his mother. Everytime I try, he fights harshly. So having an honest heart-to-heart about how her presence makes me feel is not an option.

  • Thank you for sharing your personal story. I first wanted to share that our experiences good and bad will shape our opinions, and beliefs about people’s character that is necessary! When we share these it is not necessarily judging someone. It’s when we move into holding contempt within ourselves, hate & blame that we become destructive inside & can start attacking other people. I can imagine how stressful it must be to have this kind of destructive behaviour in your home no matter who it is!